14 February 2006

kids and candy

Aren't they cute? These are the Valentine's Grams that the Cultural Arts Club sold for its very first fundraiser! Inside these bundles are sweet candy and a nice little handmade card. Each gram was personally delivered to each student's homeroom by a member of the Club.I still have to do the final tally, but we are definitely not in the red. With only about 12 members, these kids made, sold and delivered grams to about 200 other students.

Not that the Hallmark holiday is worthy of all this effort, but the students are. And, getting lots of yummy candy to eat for the past week has been an added perk.

Despite all the hassles that come with being a high school teacher, the students in the Cultural Arts Club make my job worth it. Their smiles, motivation and ideas light up this place like nothing before. No, not even launchcast can make my classroom that fun!

07 February 2006

women's bean project

Just had to share. This is great organization that's actually DOING something to help "the cause." I bought the above pictured gifts for two of my profs that I'm assuming wrote outstanding letters of rec for grad school :)

A nice gift and a good cause....what could be better?

Here's a brief description of what they do :

For 16 years the Women's Bean Project has helped women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. We teach workplace competencies for entry-level jobs through employment and by teaching job readiness and life skills in our gourmet food production business.

to get me through the day

posted by Keri Smith, some thoughts that made me feel good about myself today. . .

January 20, 2006
insights from a hangover

a rather hopeless morning begins with me feeling "under the weather" because I consumed too much wine at a dinner party last night. I always beat myself up when that happens, because I know all too well having spent many months in the hospital with my mom that there are so many people out in the world who struggle with genuine illnesses every single day, and here I am doing it to myself.

overindulgence. a dirty word. so I sleep a little longer than usual. I try to keep some tea down and remind myself that I am human and prone to make mistakes now and then.

it is only in the last two years that I have really embraced my mistakes. picked them up off the dirty floor and hugged them for all I am worth. Not just the mistakes, but the insecurities, the fears, the junk. What does it mean to love those bits of yourself that you think are ugly?

For my whole life I have had difficulty looking at photos of myself. It was as if that person could never be enough for me, I did not want to see any of my flaws (or the things I percieved as imperfect). Now as I sit here at this cluttered desk (nursing a headache), I liken it to the process of creating a piece of artwork, and being willing to make work that is imperfect and flawed. This morning I was reminded of an article I wrote in "Living Out Loud", entitled "how to wreck a sketchbook". I feel another article coming on right now along the lines of "how to take bad photos of yourself". How to really look at those photos and let them be. How to love that image flaws and all. Yeah it looks like I have a double chin and a huge nose, and I don't know why I ever thought that skirt looked good on me. fuck it. that is all of me. Yes I can love me when the situation is favourable and flattering, and everything is just so, but can I love me when things are messy?

there is me the beautiful, inspired, kick-ass, full of life woman. and there is me who had too much to drink and wishes she could take back the last 12 hours, in her pyjamas that smell like cereal and milk. and there is the me that worries if people see a bad photo they might not like me as much, I will be taken off the list of "beautiful people they know", and put onto the list of "people who look unique".

all of me.

and if you want to work on embracing these things in yourself I suggest you go spend some time with some woman friends who will look at photos of you and see your real beauty (the stuff you can't see because of all your shit), and they will tell you about the little details, how your personality was captured by the way you tossed your head or held a glass, or how your eyes lit up for an instant and they saw your soul flood out. And if you are lucky, if you allow yourself (even if you really don't like the photo and want it burned), you might for an instant be able to see what they are seeing. you might start to realize that the real essence of you has nothing to do with what you are wearing or what your hair was like that day.

It is possible to love the bad photos. I'm actually thinking of creating a new gallery for them in my house.

Some little pangs of hunger start to creep in. a good sign I am on the road to recovery.

01 February 2006

In Motion In Miami - Beyond the History Books

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division

Henry T. De La Beche, Notes on the Present Condition of the Negroes in Jamaica (London: Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1825)

BLACK HISTORY Exhibit dramatizes how black flight benefited U.S.A traveling exhibit showcases how 400 years of black migration has influenced life and history in the United States, including South Florida. BY ANDREA ROBINSON

The black migration experience in America often is defined by the voyage from West Africa to bondage on Southern plantations, or the mass flight of men and women from poverty in the South to chase dreams of prosperity in Northern factories.
But what about the voyages of Haitians fleeing violence on rickety boats in search of a better life in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, or Bahamians who arrived in the 19th century to develop Key West and Miami? Even less is known about the journeys of African Americans who fled this country's slavery for freedom in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and even Africa.
Just in time for Black History Month, an exhibit from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York opens today in Overtown that expands the boundaries of black Americans' migration patterns over the last 400 years.
The exhibit, In Motion: The African American Migration Experience, traces 13 migration patterns of black people in this country, starting with the transatlantic slave trade and ending with the more recent journeys of Haitians to South Florida in search of freedom and opportunity.
The exhibit, which opens today at the Lyric Theater, grew out of a website project and art show created at Schomburg more than a year ago. This marks the first time the exhibit has traveled outside the New York center.
Schomburg Director Howard Dodson said the project's purpose is to educate children and adults beyond the traditional history lesson about the voyage of slaves from Africa to the West Indies and the United States.
''It gives us an alternative way of thinking and writing about African-American history,'' Dodson said. ``In fact, the individuals involved in the migratory movements are history makers in a major way. They redefined the history of America as a whole.''
The show will be in Miami through May 31, to celebrate Haitian Heritage Month. Dodson said those dates were purposefully selected, given the area's diversity of black people.
''Our agenda is to foster a greater level of understanding among the African people in Miami,'' he said. ``Miami is a microcosm of the African diaspora.''
The exhibit caught the eye of Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones, who viewed it last year during a trip to New York while she still worked as a senior aide on the staff of Mayor Manny Diaz. She was floored by the images and the connections to South Florida.
''We need to bridge all of the various communities together,'' she said.
Spence Jones asked Dorothy Jenkins Fields, founder of the Black Archives Research Foundation of South Florida, if she'd be interested in hosting the show.
The original project, funded by a $2.4 million federal grant, tracks the circular migration patterns of blacks in, out and back into the United States in 13 categories.
Included in the project are a website, a book published by National Geographic and lesson plans for schools. The website has close to 17,000 pages of essays, manuscripts and maps, and 8,000 photographs that trace the movements of about 35 million people of African descent.
Dodson said he hopes the exhibit and the website give viewers, particularly blacks, a better understanding of the importance of black migration in the United States.
``They should understand how they dispersed throughout the United States and transformed themselves and their communities.''